Monday, December 15, 2008

Tips for making your kids eat healthy lunches

With the economy the way it is, most mothers would rather pack lunches for the children rather than give them lunch money. But this does not ensure that your children are eating healthy lunches. Here are some guidelines to pack power into their lunch boxes:

1. Plan ahead of time. Make a weekly menu so you don't repeat dishes. If you think about it, it's just five days! While you are at it, involve your child by asking him what he wants.

2. Nutrition is part and parcel of the meal. Children need carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Include fish, chicken and beef, with rice and fruit.

3. Avoid refined carbohydrates. It causes your child to have energy and attention deficit for the rest of the day. Focus instead on fiber and healthy fats that will help keep him satisfied and his metabolism running high.

4. Convenience should be taken into consideration because eating in school is different from eating at home. Fish should have no bones, chicken filleted, and beef sliced thinly so it is much easier to eat. Choose fruits that are also convenient to eat such as bananas, sliced mango, or pineapple. Pack these separately so the juice will not mix with the food.

5. Interaction during mealtimes is as much a facet of school eating as it is at home. So, plan dishes that will allow the child to interact with friends. Shared meals are much more fun than sitting in a corner all by himself, after all. Pack an extra apple, slice the meat so they can offer it to friends, and add more rice!

6. Invest in a thermos your child can use for bringing hot soup. Also, freeze some homemade juice and pack them frozen. That should thaw by lunchtime.

7. Do not forget sandwiches! There are so many to choose from: egg, hamburger, cheese, and more. Go easy on the mayonnaise though, it packs a lot of fat and does not keep well in our tropical weather.

8. Be creative with food choices. Think colorful pasta salad, homemade pizza pan de sal, and colorful cookies they helped bake over the weekend.

9. Pack love notes for your child, serving as a simple reminder that you were thinking of him.

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